Department of Public Health Sciences

Plasma fatty acid profiles in autism: a case-control study

Wiest MM, German JB, Harvey DJ, Watkins SM, Hertz-Picciotto I.

Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. 2009. 80(4):221-227.

Increasing evidence is mounting in support of fatty acid metabolism playing a role in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. In order to definitely determine whether fatty acid concentrations were associated with autism, we quantitatively measured 30 fatty acids from seven lipid classes in plasma from a large subset of subjects enrolled in the Childhood Autism Risk from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study. The CHARGE study is a large, population-based case-control study on children aged 2–5 born in California. Our subset consisted of 153 children with autism and 97 developmentally normal controls. Results showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) was significantly decreased in phosphatidylethanolamine. Dimethyl acetals were significantly decreased in phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylcholine as well. These results are consistent with the only other study to measure dimethyl acetals in children with autism, and suggest that the function of peroxisomes and the enzymes of the peroxisome involved with fatty acid metabolism may be affected in autism.

Keywords: Autism; Lipids; Fatty acid; Plasmalogen; Docosahexaenoic acid; Peroxisome



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